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Hello Again

I’M (ALMOST) BACK! After a 2,100 mile move from my Iowa hometown to Atlantic Canada last summer, I’ve settled into the Nova Scotia home and haven where the worlds my characters live,  love, and cope with conflict are created. WHAT’S NEXT? A major rewrite and a new novel Both are in the new-to-me challenging genre of suspense. The UnMatchables Case #1: Danger Noted Newbie private investigators Eddie Emerson and Kelly Gillespie set up shop in a north shore Chicago suburb doing deep dives on demand into the backgrounds of their clients’ intimate partners. Appearances are deceiving … Their first easy
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4 Tales From Heartland + Love Unlikely

IT’S HERE! By popular request from my book loving readers – The paperback version of Tales from Heartland – 4 short stories (NEW – Adele’s New Life in Love added to the original 3 short stories in the Kindle version) and the saucy, sexy novella of Rachel and Drew’s whirlwind romance Love Unlikely! While I’ve learned never to say never, Adele Murphy’s meetup with a high school sweetheart who never was could be the final chapter in the New Life in Love saga that began with the release of Reservations in 2013. I invite all my readers to fall as
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Spotting Ideas

  Where do you get your ideas? Whether at a workshop I lead, an author panel I’m on, or meeting readers one-on-one at a book signing, I almost always get asked that question. Here’s my short answer: Look around and listen. Ideas are there. What’s the story behind the shirt worn by the guy in the front row of the workshop classroom? Was it the only clean shirt he had in his closet that morning because he’s working three jobs and hasn’t had time to get to the laundromat? Maybe he doesn’t really like the shirt. But he wore it
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Resolve Depends on You

It’s mid-January and the resolve behind those New Year’s resolutions has dissolved, replaced by reasonable excuses. Most of these dismissive rationalizations involve time, or rather the perceived lack of it. I tried, we tell ourselves and others. I want to lose weight. But I just can’t seem to find the time to exercise. I’m unhappy at work. But I’m working so many hours I don’t have time to look for another job. Writers tap into our natural ability to create very persuasive rationalizations to let ourselves off the hook. Every book written on writing advises us to get into the
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Fashion Treads

The fashion-defying old boots I wore for warmth self-destructed on my 62nd birthday. Flakes of crumbling faux leather I left behind lately whenever I zipped my feet into the comfort of weatherproof Totes with fleece lining left clues on my kitchen floor that I ignored. Much like the skin sags of age under my eyes and chin reflected in the mirror every morning. I covered the wrinkles with makeup, pulled my pant legs over the boot tops, and went out to shop for the officially senior me. I looked at boots on display and considered replacing those I’d bought a
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No Fat Here

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” -Stephen King, in Writer’s Digest Sorry, Stephen. I love your stories. But I’ve never had this problem. There’s no fat in my stories to cut in rewrite. They’re lean, mean, and starved for more words. I am a natural born editor. When I sit down, stare at the cursor on the monitor and plunk my
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How to Hook Readers

Crime novelist extraordinaire Mickey Spillane said it best. The first page sells the book. The last page sells the next book. Finesse the six elements of fiction – character, plot, setting, point of view, theme and style – and you’ll hook readers into turning those pages through lunch hours, during commutes and into the wee hours of the morning. Element #1 – Character Want to grab and hold your readers’ attention? Create strong characters to drive the story along the road map of conflict that you, the author, draw for them. Strategically placed small details can reveal a lot about
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Mystery “UnMatchables” Surprise

The cozy mystery I’d just finished reading reminded me of characters in “Moonlighting,” a TV series in the 1980s about an out-of-work model who brings in a partner to a detective agency she owns. My newbie private investigators, unlucky-in-love and mutually-vowed ‘friends-only’ Eddie Emerson and Kelly Gillespie, would set up shop in a north Chicago suburb to help clients avoid heartbreak. I envisioned a book series of deep dives into lovers’ and potential marital mates’ backgrounds with a touch of humor, surprising plot twists, and sometimes happily-ever-after results. Their first client would be a senior partner at a high-profile law
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Romance Novella “Love Unlikely”

Looking for that sweet-to-sizzling mid-summer read? Top up your beverage of choice, settle into your favorite chair and cushions, in the sun, on the porch or indoor reading nook, and get ready for romance! “Rachel, you are the most beautiful and desirable woman I have ever known. Waking up next to you, making love to you, spending every waking minute I can with you is more important to me than anything else.” Drew let go of her and the heels of her boots hit the floor. “But if you don’t want me to go with you, if there is no
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Fall Frenzy

Where would authors and readers be without libraries – those storied gathering places that connect us to each other and the written word? My Fall Frenzy tour began Indie Author Day at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, continued at a Bettendorf Public Library Read Local evening dedicated to local authors, and continued in Marion at the Celebrate Writing mini-conference. The tour wraps up with the Book Bums Workshop November 5th at the library in West Liberty, Iowa. In between, I’ll spend time with readers and other authors at one of small town Iowa’s best kept secrets, the Maquoketa Art Experience,
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